Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Race Recap: 2013 Join the Voices! 5M

First off... happy birthday to my sister, Priyanka!!!

I wish I could be there to celebrate with you! Sending lots of virtual hugs. You're the best!!!

On Sunday, I ran the Join the Voices 5 mile race for the second year in a row. Heading to the park, I was filled with an overwhelming desire to turn around and head home. I really didn't want to run. It was a gross morning (chilly but humid -- 83% -- possibly one of the worst combinations), I'd just run 8 miles with Laura the day before, I didn't think I'd PR from the previous year (8:55 average pace) and worst of all, I was feeling sick.

Still, when you pay as much as you do for NYRR races (this one was $30 I think?), it seems like a waste of money not to run. And yes, for those of you who are criticizing my handle on economic theory, I know that it's a sunk cost since I've already spent the money on the race entry and can't get it back either way, but hush. I didn't major in economics for a reason.

And besides, it was only 5 miles, right? Oh, how the marathon messes with your mind. A year ago I'd never have said "only 5 miles"!

I added a few songs to my 5K race playlist to make it last for the 5 mile race while waiting in my corral. I had gotten there a bit late, so they were just about to sing the national anthem as I finished up my playlist. I popped in my earbuds and we were off!

I didn't look at my Garmin at all in the first mile. I wanted to see what felt comfortable. So when it ticked 1 mile and I saw it was an 8:19 mile, I was kind of shocked. "Okay then, let's go with that," I thought. My goal was suddenly to keep my pace sub-8:30 the whole way.

Of course, the second mile had Cat Hill, which wasn't exactly the best way to keep my pace speedy. I ran a pretty good tangent up the hill to minimize my time climbing and snapped a picture to distract myself. This was the only time I ran a good tangent, by the way... I ended up overrunning the course by .11, which is quite a lot in a 5 mile race.

I kept thinking I must be slowing down a lot because my pace continued to feel fairly comfortable, but my Garmin said I wasn't, so I trusted it, knowing my race pace would be a bit slower because I was clearly going to overrun the course.

In the first three miles, I really never felt uncomfortable. Maybe I should have pushed harder? The fourth mile, though, which included the rolling hills on the west side, definitely felt tough. I tried to "get comfortable with discomfort," and kept repeating positive mantras to myself as I climbed each of the three. I actually think the northernmost hill is the worst because it's fairly gradual but seems to go on forever, so mantras were most important here.

I've mentioned this several times, notably in my 5K PR recap and my post on the mental tricks I used for the Chicago Marathon, but the shift in my mental game has been huge this year. I truly believe that race day performance is at least 50% mental.

In this race, I set tiny goals, like keeping my pace sub-8:30 going up Cat Hill or dropping my pace along the straightaway on the east side of the reservoir. The smaller goals helped keep me focused and distracted me from thoughts like "eek I have the rolling hills to get through still."

Finally, I hit the last mile. My mini goal was to run it sub-8:00 since it's a net downhill, with a finish that went slightly uphill heading east along the 72nd St Transverse. Mission accomplished! I was pretty proud that after four hilly-by-NYC-standards miles I could pull out a sub-8:00 mile. Or maybe it just means I could have pushed harder? The last .11 was sub-7:00, but it's only a tenth of a mile, so who knows how accurate it was. I just know I was sprinting as hard as I could to pass as many people as possible.

I stopped my watch and looked down to see 41:56, a nearly 3 minute PR from last year's 44:50, and a NYRR pace PR of 8:24. YES! Apparently training for a marathon does make you stronger! I guess that means I should thank Coach Jess for those tempo runs and mile repeats she made me do?

As a final note, I really love racing in my Saucony Kinvaras. They feel extremely light without hurting my feet, which is rare for me. I got these shoes for free in May at the FITNESS Magazine Meet & Tweet, but I'll be buying a new pair shortly since I've put a ton of miles on them. I was just looking them up to gauge price point, and it looks like they're $10-20 cheaper on Amazon than elsewhere online. Figured I'd mention this in case anyone needs something to add to their Christmas lists!

Distance: 5 miles
Time: 41:56
Average Pace: 8:24
Splits: (1) 8:19, (2) 8:27, (3) 8:09, (4) 8:28, (5) 7:53, (.11) 6:13

Did you run a race this weekend? How'd it go?


  1. Nice work! I totally hear you in terms of the NYRR race cost; those events aren't cheap. ;) Also, the Kinvara is a GREAT shoe--so light and springy, so it's ideal for racing and doing tempo runs.

  2. Amazing race!!! and now we will be right next to each other starting! my pace pr is 8:23 :)
    I've been loving the Mizuno Sayonara for a lighter weight shoe and might try the Kinvara as well. Such good reviews.